Bidwells, Chief Operating Officer

Established 175 years ago, Bidwells is one of the UK’s leading property consultancies employing 500 staff across 13 offices. With a geographical presence in England and Scotland, their principal activities include Rural, Commercial and Residential consultancy. They are known for their depth of knowledge, focus on delivery and unwavering commitment to their clients to help them achieve their goals.

The brief

The current COO was relocating to the South West and with 35 Partners, this was a key appointment with many stakeholders. Although the head office is based in Cambridge, the business has offices throughout the UK, so they were keen to draw from a national pool of candidates and searching within the London region was of particular importance.

With responsibility for a team of 50 people across HR, Compliance, Administration, IT, Facilities and Marketing, the COO would help shape the strategic direction of the firm whilst being a confidante to the Partners and ensuring the best possible environment for the customer facing ‘fee earning’ staff to excel.  Although a strategic HR background was important, in reality, the successful candidate could have worked in a range of environments and given the Partnership structure, getting ‘the cultural fit’ right was key to success.

The process

Candidates were identified through branded advertising, targeted search within the professional services market in London and utilising our network and referrals. We designed an assessment process involving four of the Partners at first interview stage, the shortlist was then narrowed down and successful candidates were put forward to a second more in-depth interview with two partners. At this stage, the process also included a personality profile with feedback. At the final stage, we facilitated an interview panel with the management board consisting of eight Partners.

Bidwells were keen to attract the best candidates from across the UK , not just the best from the eastern region and they were delighted with their shortlisted candidates, with just 40% being based locally.

Lynn Walters
Lynn Walters
Catherine Spitzer, COO, Bidwells

As a candidate working with many search firms, I found PURE to stand out from the rest

Catherine Spitzer, COO, Bidwells

The result

Catherine, was the preferred candidate and joined the firm within 4 months of taking the initial brief. We have, since then, supported her to recruit 2 key Director appointments within her first quarter.   

  • As a candidate working with many search firms, I found PURE to stand out from the rest. Communication was exceptional, I always knew where I was in the process, whether there was news or no news - which actually reflected very well on their client. I was also given really useful counsel on the role, which helped me make a very important career decision. PURE were a genuine pleasure to deal with.

    - Catherine Spitzer, COO, Bidwells